Nanaimo Column: Devon Transports Rescues Lady Rose Marine Services

August 31, 2021

New Driftwood Chinese Restaurant Opens At Nanaimo North Town Centre



NANAIMO – Barrie Rogers and Greg Willmon have been successful business partners on land, and have now expanded their operations to include Lady Rose Marine Services, which operates a cargo and passenger service with the MV Frances Barkley between Bamfield and Port Alberni.

Barrie and Greg’s Devon Transport Ltd., which owns and operates Budget Rent A Car & Truck outlets across the province, as well as Budget Self-Storage, from their Nanaimo head office, purchased Lady Rose Marine from owner Mike Surrell, who had announced earlier this summer that he was closing the operation at the end of August. The service will now continue with uninterrupted service, much to the delight of West Coast communities and travelers.

Poky Page, a new restaurant, is now open in the former Quizno’s location next to the Mid Island Co-op gas station at Brooks Landing.

Carbone Pizzeria, a new restaurant in the former La Rosa Restaurant location at 215 Terminal Avenue, is opening soon.

There’s another Drip in Nanaimo. The owners/managers of the popular coffee shop in Departure Bay, Scott Marr and Jason Fortin, have opened their second location in the new development on Dufferin Crescent built by Donna Hais and her team at RW (Bob) Wall Contracting Ltd. The new building, which will include doctor’s offices on upper floors, is also home to a new location for Central Drugs.

Chief Executive Officer Troy Schmeichel has announced that AGS Business Systems has begun operating under a new name and will be known as NextGen Automation.

Over the past five years, AGS has grown with the merger of Digital Connection, Mitech Business Systems, Hartman Business Machines and CBM Office Automation – and all of these will operate under the NextGen Automation name.

Spotlight Academy owner Jacqui Kaese has been recognized for her motion picture work, winning a 2021 Leo Award for Best Casting Motion Picture for their work on “All-in Madonna”. Jacqui’s partner in that work was Lynne Carrow.

There is a new management company for the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

International hospitality company Hotel Equities of Edmonton has partnered with PEG Companies, which is building the new 172-room, 9-storey Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on Gordon Street downtown, and Snuneymuxw First Nations’ Petroglyph Development Group to operate the facility. The new hotel is projected to open in the second quarter of 2022.

There could be a new look for 1 Terminal Avenue in the near future.

Oakwood Park Estates, the owner of the property, which includes the Howard Johnson Hotel that is now closed, has submitted a rezoning application to the city for the 6.2 acre property. It includes plans for a small hotel at the corner of Comox Road and Terminal Avenue, a 16-storey building where the Howard Johnson building currently sits, and several mixed use buildings of up to six-storeys featuring residential and retail space.

Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne has sold his Parksville Tim Horton’s location, and he still owns the donut chain outlet at Nanaimo North Town Centre.

Candice McKinnon is now the General Manager at La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings & Décor.

Congratulations to Janet Dyck upon starting her new position as Sales and Event Coordinator at the Coast Bastion Hotel. Janet had previously worked with Communication Connection.

A tip of the hat to Matteo Pizzo for being promoted to the position of Pub Coordinator at the VIUSO Pub at Vancouver Island University.

William Litchfield has left Vancouver Island University and is now leading the Vancouver Island office for the BC Cancer Foundation. William was Associate Vice-President, Community Partnerships and Chief Advancement Officer at VIU. He has also served as a Director of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

Congrats to Joe Cristiano upon 25 years at Coastal Community Credit Union. Joe is the Chief Community and Marketing Officer at CCCU.

A fourth Driftwood restaurant opened at Nanaimo North Town Centre in August 16.

MICHELLE CORFIED © 2015 HA Photography

The new Chinese food outlet joins the Driftwood in Oyster Bay at 4329 South Island Highway south of Campbell River, the Golden Dragon at 5023 Johnston Road in Port Alberni and another in Parksville, as the owners have purchased the former Tan’s Kitchen in Parksville at 332 Island Highway West. The owners also own SimonHolt in Nanaimo.

DONNA HAIS © 2015 HA Photography

The Port of Nanaimo will have some familiar faces on its Board of Directors, as Dr. Michelle Corfield has been reappointed by the City of Nanaimo for a three-year term. Michelle, who is also a candidate for the Liberal Party in the upcoming federal election, has served as Chair of the Port during her tenure.

Chair Donna Hais has been re-elected Chair of the Port. Donna, a past Chair of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, is the General Manager of R.W. (Bob) Wall Contracting Ltd.

The federal government recently announced it is sending $346,000 to the Port, in addition to $1.38 million for the Nanaimo Airport Commission.

Ben Atkinson is the new President and CEO of Taste of BC Aquafarms, which is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Blue Star Foods.

Ben’s father, Taste of BC founder Steve Atkinson, moves up to the Blue Star Executive team and Board of Directors, and is Managing Director of Taste of BC Fine Foods Ltd. within the company.

Jo-anne Freelund is now a Commercial Producer at Megson Fitzpatrick Insurance Services at its new Nanaimo office at 96 Wallace Street.

Congratulations to Patrick Vellner, a Doctor of Chiropractic at Island Optimal Health and Performance for earning a second place finish in the four-day CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin. Vellner, 31, had previously notched two second and two third place showings at the international fitness competition.

A tip of the hat to VMAC for earning a spot on the Great Place to Work’s Best Workplaces in Manufacturing list for the third consecutive year.

Nanaimo city council has approved an agreement to set up the Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation, designed to replace the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation which was dissolved in 2015. The new Corporation is city-owned and funded, and it includes five shareholders who will contribute cash or in-kind contributions: the Port of Nanaimo, Nanaimo Airport Commission, Snuneymuxw First Nation, Vancouver Island University and the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

Congratulations to the Nanaimo Association for Community Living upon celebrating its 35th anniversary in helping people with development disabilities. Graham Morry is the Executive Director.

Downtown Nanaimo will have a decidedly different look in the future as the City of Nanaimo has purchased the former Jean Burns building, as well as In Print and Blue Tattoo along the Commercial Street/Terminal Avenue corridor. A massive fire leveled the Jean Burns property several years ago, and the city’s move to purchase will begin a series of discussions about what to do with the entire area, which is also next to Victoria Crescent.

Mark MacDonald is President of Communication Ink Media & Public Relations Ltd. and can be reached at

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